STRASBURG — Skyline girls basketball coach Jim Kenney said he saw better focus from his team on the second day of the Ram Hardwood Classic at Strasburg High School on Saturday afternoon, but the result was largely the same for the Hawks in the consolation game against Luray.
Skyline’s offense sputtered for the second straight game — the Hawks shot less than 30 percent and turned the ball over 20 times — and a decisive run midway through the second period gave Luray a lead that the Hawks couldn’t erase in a 48-39 Bulldog win.
Kenney said after the loss that the Hawks played well in spurts but that they repeatedly fell into lapses where they struggled in areas they haven’t struggled in all season to this point.
“I had not seen this from our team until these two games,” said Kenney, who expressed disappointment in his team’s level of focus after a loss to Page County on Thursday. “I don’t know where it’s coming from, but we’re gonna fix it. We are gonna fix it. We’re gonna go back to the drawing board. I told them, maybe we need to go back to some basic stuff. Maybe we’re focusing too much on the complexities of offense and maybe we just need to get back to ‘can we catch and pivot without traveling?’”
Much like Skyline’s first game of the tournament, the Hawks (3-5) stumbled out of the gate and made just three of their first 17 shots in the first period against the Bulldogs (8-3). Skyline recovered to cut the lead to 13-9 on Rachel Sirbaugh’s 3-pointer at the start of the second quarter, but Luray reeled off 13 unanswered points that stretched the lead to 26-9 with four minutes left in the first half.
The Hawks went on their own 11-2 run to close the half — Shyla Schmitz and Sirbaugh made quick back-to-back buckets, the latter off a steal in the backcourt, to cut Luray’s lead to 28-20 at halftime — but they never trailed by fewer than 6 points for the rest of the game.
Luray, powered by Brynlee Burrill’s 26 points and Emilee Weakley’s 17 points and 10 rebounds, led by as many as 14 points in the third period and held Skyline to 6 points in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks shot only 29.5 percent (18-for-61) in the loss and were 1-for-7 from the free-throw line, but they did hold a 41-38 edge on the boards.
“We’re gonna be OK. We’ve got a great group of girls,” Kenney said. “These two games, it’s on me. We have to figure out a better way of coaching, to get them — it’s like they’re not cohesive right now. We’ve got three or four girls who do what they’re supposed to do and one girl doesn’t rotate, just simple things like that. We need to figure those things out.”
Skyline’s cause wasn’t helped when senior point guard Rachel Sirbaugh dropped to the floor 2 ½ minutes into the second half — Kenney said Sirbaugh said she blacked out — and didn’t return. Another senior starter, forward Zaryn Rateb, has been battling a back injury and played sparingly in the fourth period, Kenney said.
Schmitz led the Hawks with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Sirbaugh — who scored 20 points in the first round of the tournament on Thursday — had 7 points as Skyline’s second-leading scorer despite missing most of the second half.
Christa Grady and Molly Meador (seven rebounds) each added 6 points for the Hawks, who return to action Wednesday at Sherando.
“We had a lot of young girls in there,” Kenney said of the loss to Luray. “Kate Cramer gave us some really good minutes today, defensively and offensively, being aggressive, which is what we’re trying to do, be aggressive and attack. Shyla had some glimpses of being her old self. I thought Molly played pretty well. CiCi (Difiglia) had some moments. We just have to get everything back together. It’s like everybody’s on a slightly different page right now.”